Doc Opp's Reviews > Foundation

Foundation by Isaac Asimov
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Jul 28, 07


One of the great books of science fiction. Brilliant plot, great characters, and one of the most memorable quotes of all sci-fi: "violence is the last refuge of the incompetent". The first section reads slowly, but its worth sticking with it because the book as a whole is spectacular.

SPOILER ALERT - THE FOLLOWING IS A TRUE STORY, BUT CONTAINS ELEMENTS OF THE BOOKS THAT YOU MIGHT NOT WANT TO KNOW ABOUT. IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THE ENTIRE SERIES (AND ARE PLANNING TO) STOP READING NOW.

I'm a psychologist by training, and I had an undergraduate email me saying that she had read Asimov and wanted to work with me as a graduate student to develop the science of psychohistory. I politely informed her that the foundation series was fiction, and that such a science didn't actually exist. She replied that she wanted to create the science, because she thought it was a good idea.

So, I wrote her back and reminded her that while we are limited to 6 billion people on a single planet and a couple of thousand years of human history, Asimov's characters had data collected from trillions of people over millions of planets over millions of years. And if that didn't give them enough of an advantage, they also had the assistance of near-omniscient, psychic robots to help them. Lacking those aids made developing the science a bit unlikely to be successful.

She agreed, but still wanted to devote her graduate school career to studying it. Good luck to her, but I didn't admit her to work with me...
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message 1: by Tom (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tom That's kind of interesting. Even to a left-brainer like myself, the idea of being able to condense human behavior into a series of predictable mathematical patterns is very attractive.


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